Home > transforamtion, Uncategorized > Living in my Skin

Living in my Skin

It started out gorgeous today here in Sedona, sunny and cool. My favorite.  Then as I strolled the Farmer’s Market the clouds came up and the wind. BRRR! But I still feel so happy. Happy to be in  Sedona. Happy to be in a pace where the environment is important to people, and there is community. Happy to be… happy.

This is still not familiar, this feeling. Feeling at home in  my skin. Feeling SAFE. Feeling… at home. Within.

So meanwhile, back 30 years give or take in a land called Los Angeles, Carroll the Dreamer was living a dream called law school. She had left the United States Air Force a few months short of her six year commitment… thinking she might rejoin the Air Force as a JAG  officer. And…

OK, back to the first person.

I have some very vivid memories of that time. Professor Karlin who also taught us Contracts. Contracts and Con law are both very elegant… inside the “ivory tower.”  (Some high percentage of the human race has no idea of  what contract law actually is, let alone how it could be elegant. But more of that later.) Somehow I became car pool mates with Jack Burke, a SCALE classmate who lived in Pasadena, and was– is- VERY Irish. (Guinness is mother’s milk and that sort of thing.) Studying almost every waking minute. (Remember we read WHOLE cases–not the “reader’s digest  version. And they are almost all VERY BADLY WRITTEN.)

Thoughts like “I am living in a bubble–my world is law school and nothing else.. but no one else knows.”  (Probably fairly true.) Wondering if there was a limit to what my brain could hold!  (There isn’t.) Jogging every single day to stay sane.  As my superb luck  (or guidance) would have it, Sierra  Madre was the best jogging place I have ever lived–so many interesting places to jog, up and down  the hills and never ever getting bored. And if I was reading a case that made NO sense (once I thought “this is like trying to pick up Jello with my hand in a paper bag”)  then “BINGO–a 20 minute run  and it would all make sense. There is NO WAY I could have been in a better place for me to transform my life and myself. No  earthly way.

So 5 days a week Jack Burke and I would leave at I think 9:00- ish and drive to the Wilshire district, right across from the then thriving Bullock’s Wilshire, and listen and take notes as our professors explained things and asked us questions.  Yes, I sat in the front row. Yes,my had was always up. (I was having fun, remember?) Yes, it pissed off the folks who wanted to insist that there was no way we could not POSSIBLY do all the work. (I remember one name–Gail Paepke. Last I checked she never did pass the Bar Exam… but see below)

 

I did the work. I read the cases. I briefed the cases. (This is an art–useful ONLY for law school but essential for that experience. I think the music lessons starting at age 5  gave me an iron discipline.) And once in a while (usually after a test) we would stop for happy hour at some bar that had free hors d’oevres, or go to the Loch Ness Monster pub. But not much.

 
Contrary to what was recommended I also worked–made money.  I was in the Active Reserves. I knew I could do it, so I did. Looking back, this has happened to me over and over. I did what I knew I could. And.. I was “right.” Poor Jack– he wanted to spend what little free time we had going to Pfazgraf’s– a local bar. (The name is significant….but more of that later, also.) I dragged  him away and onto the LA Freeways  to beat the rush hour traffic– so I could jog.–MY drug of choice. Then  study. (Oddly, I never actually looked at the notes taken in class… until Bar Review.)  I did not study in the library like everyone else–it was too quiet. I studies at home as I listened to jazz… which is NOT my favorite  music. Years later I learned why– I needed something for my right brain to do while my left brain labored mightily! I think I chose jazz it is does not follow the melodic patterns I knew so well from studying music, so my brain could not predict what was next and just went along for the ride.  (A theory.  Unproven.) And I read and analyzed and read some more.

And, as Professor Kingsfield says in  Paper Chase.. I taught myself the law. And how to think like a lawyer. Which, for good or ill… is irrevocable.

Post script– Gail did pass. Just thought the world would want to know–she seems to feel it’s important. So there you have it, sports fans.

Oh– and Palgzraf was an very important tort case in which a long and improbable chain of events caused a distant person harm. There were two distinct sets of opinions on whether or not it was compensible. THAT I also remember! We “SCALE”ies  read the whole thing. I highly doubt anyone does in “traditional” law school. But we did. And we –I– really do “think like a lawyer.” God help us all. But I swear… it was fun. And is starting to  be again, because now I can CLAIM my gifts.

This… is a Good Thing.

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  1. Margaret Morbach Weatherby
    February 13, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I love reading about your law school days, it is like opening up a new book everyday. My neice and her husband are both lawyers in Memphis. I don’t jog, i take Zumba and try and keep my weight down.

  2. Gail Paepke
    September 9, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Carroll: I remember you too. Sat in the front with your hand already raised before the question was asked. I’m shocked to find that you would remember me, who sat in the very back row and tried to keep my head down. I did pass the Bar, on the 2d try, CA Bar #113520 – look it up. Worked as a practicing attorney for less than a year and found that I did not like the job or the people very much after all. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. I rehabilitated myself by becoming a High School English as a Second Language Teacher and working in the public schools in L.A. area until I retired last year. My brother is still a lawyer. I never regretted leaving it. Next time you find yourself about to say that someone never did pass the Bar, do the research first. It’s a public record, after all.

    • September 9, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      Gee– is that jealously I hear? Sorry… I could not quite help myself. I did not say you “did not pass” — I said “last time I checked.” A TRUE statement.

      I have now corrected the record.But that won’t help, will it? I am STILL the one who was always prepared, even though I ALSO WORKED. (BTW I remember Steve Tully and Jeff Grass too-but they never treated me like crap. Hint hint.) The reference to you was because you were one of the ones who resented me for just that–BEING PREPARED. Did you think I didn’t know?

      I am writing this to RECLAIM my life. YOU left one of the few nasty memories I have. So– congrats.

      OH–and thanks for the chance to correct some typos, add the Palzgraf explanation and update my journey.

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